The Nikolaj Coster-Waldau crime thriller climbing the Netflix charts
(Credit: Netflix)

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The Nikolaj Coster-Waldau crime thriller climbing the Netflix charts

In a sea of formulaic action thrillers, one more film with familiar feathers has risen through the ranks on Netflix. This one stars the Game of Thrones heartthrob Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who also walked away with most of the praise when the film was released in 2017.

The peculiarly named Shot Caller has secured its place in the Netflix UK top ten films list, currently holding the ninth spot in its second non-consecutive week. Coster-Waldau plays an ordinary man who has his breaking bad moment and ends up becoming the big kahuna.

Written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh, Shot Caller stars Jon Bernthal, Benjamin Bratt, Omari Hardwick, and Lake Bell, in addition to the lead, Coster-Waldau. The plot revolves around Jacob Harlon (played by Coster-Waldau), a successful businessman whose life takes a drastic turn when he’s sentenced to prison after a DUI accident leads to a fatality. Inside prison, Jacob’s survival instincts kick in, and he aligns himself with a white supremacist gang for protection. As he navigates the brutal hierarchy of prison life, Jacob transforms into the hardened criminal known as ‘Money’.

On the surface, Shot Caller may seem like just another gritty crime thriller, but Coster-Waldau elevates it in plenty of ways. Some may tune into Shot Caller and gasp at how it makes no sense whatsoever. Nonetheless, there are enough who have tuned in to push it to the top ten charts on Netflix once again.

However, not everyone is walking away feeling duped or even displeased. Many have enjoyed Coster-Waldau’s performance, which is not surprising at all because Jamie Lannister was a tough guy to love. Coster-Waldau managed to play Lannister with so much heart and nuance that he walked away with more fanfare than vitriol, unlike some of the other despicable characters on the show. 

Despite tepid expectations, Shot Caller may surprise you as well, as it has familiar themes that ardent genre fans of shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire may enjoy. It’s a rollercoaster ride of adrenaline and suspense. After all, ‘Money’ is the one who calls the shots, you know, like Walter White was the one who knocked?

Speaking about his role, Coster-Waldau told Collider why he was drawn to the role, “I think it’s a great story. It’s not a happy movie. Obviously, it’s a piece of fiction, but Ric [Roman Waugh] clearly based it in a very real situation.” He also discussed how he encountered someone similar to his on-screen character while researching for the role. “I met one guy, specifically, who would have been a shot caller himself, and his story was very similar to the story that we have.” 

He went on, “He was younger when he was put away, but he was a non-violent offender when he was put away, and he became extremely violent inside.” Coster-Waldau also pondered, “What is scary is that it’s not some crazy fantasy or sci-fi. The prison system today is so messed up. I know it’s a tagline on the movie, ‘Some criminals are made in prison,’ but it’s actually true.”

So, if you’re in the mood for a crime thriller that delivers non-stop action, tune into Shot Caller on Netflix. With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau leading the charge, it might actually be a decent two hours wasted.